The Masterlink Podcast

40 Episodes

By: James Welch, Stefan Redtenbacher

Getting to know creatives in the music industry. Interviews and discussions with musicians, artists, music industry professionals and everyone in between. Brought to you by the Masterlink Sessions.

How To Break The Mould And Walk Your Path (with Jihad Darwish)
Last Saturday at 10:00 PM

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Jihad Darwish.

Jihad talks us through his incredible career to date including his recent post on bass guitar playing Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On?' tour with 23-piece orchestra. We talk a lot about gear, being in the studio and the inspiration of analogue recoridng (get your notepads ready).

We hear about his education, picking up various instruments along the way, his work for charities including being involved in 'Finding Rhythms&apos...

How To Become Confident and Have Something To Say (with Gemma Dorsett)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to music journalist and broadcaster Gemma Dorsett.

Gemma is a Country/Blues/Rock singer who has spent the past 15 years developing her voice finding influence in gut-punching artists such as Melissa Etheridge and Joe Cocker.

Gemma talks about her journey from a young age in the choir, through playing with her Dad and all the way to working in Nashville. Gemma candidly shares with us her own demons around confidence, song writing and how she deals with them on a day-to-day basis.

How To Be A Guitar Entrepreneur (with Nicolas Meier)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to guitar visionary Nicolas Meier.

Nicolas is a guitar virtuoso, concertist and artist spanning many genres of music. In our podcast he describes his passion for learning and and improving on his instrument, his love of playing live or, in his words, being a 'concertist'.

Drawing from a love of Turkish, Eastern & Middle Eastern music, Flamenco, Tango and more -- all mixed with jazz -- Meier's versatility and musical fluency extends well beyond that to create his own...

How To Be A Music Journalist (with Paul Sexton)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to music journalist and broadcaster Paul Sexton.

Paul contributes to The Sunday Times, Billboard, Music Week and many other titles, and presents and produces shows for BBC Radio 2, Virgin Atlantic and Emirates. 

Paul walks us through his vivid and varied career starting out at 17 writing for the British Pop magazine Record Mirror, subsequently making his way up to write extensively for all of the quality UK daily press.

We talk extensively about his fascintating book - Prince: A Portrait of the A...

How To Teach 1,000 Drummers - and Much More (with Mike Dolbear)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to drumming legend Mike Dolbear.

Mike is first and foremost a drummer but also educator, co-ordinator and all-round industrious being. As you can hear Mike hijacks our intro (brilliantly) and kicks off explaining how Covid 19 has been affecting him and his fellow musicians. We then take a trip down memory lane as Stef and Mike recall their time at the 'Talk of London'.

He tells us candidly how he works with drummers in the studio, coaching them and being their guide.<...

How To Be A Teacher, Singer, Dancer, DJ and Hype Machine (with Gemma Stoddard)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to Gemma Stoddard.

Gemma is a Teacher, Singer, DJ, Dancer and all-round Hype Machine. She talks us through her career so far in the music industry ranging from  singer in two funk bands and travelling across Europe, teaching music in secondary schools, starting a dance school, choreographer and performing on BBC's Strictly Dance Fever - so not a lot really.

Listen as Gemma tells us many funny stories about all the above. performing in front of the armed forces, juggling more t...

Dealing With Mental Health In Popular Music (with Jenn Clempner)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to illustrator Jenn Clempner.

Jenn is a Singer-Pianist, Music Director for theatre and choirs, an Independent Vocal Coach, Multi-instrumentalist, Mental Health advocate & Lecturer in Music.

She talks frankly and openly about her struggles with mental illness throughout her career and her passion and drive to create change and highlight these issues in today's education system.

Her journey through the music industry is wide and varied starting as a session musician for indie-pop outfit The Hoosiers (Sony BMG), with...

How to rock iconic album covers with the airbrush (with illustrator Mark Wilkinson)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to illustrator Mark Wilkinson.

Mark is an English artist, illustrator and airbrush wizard. His combination of incredible technique and vast imagination has led him to create iconic cover art for bands like Iron Maiden, Marillion, Judas Priest, Fish, The Darkness, Shobaleader One (Squarepusher), to name but one patch of his creative output.

In this episode Mark explains how an airbrush works, how his world turned from monochrome into technicolour visiting London in the 60s, about his favourite album covers he created for Marillion...

How To Be An Outstanding Session Vocalist (with Louise Clare Marshall)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to Louise Clare Marshall.

In this episode, Louise tells us (in technicolour!) her life in music, from playing piano and singing in Oldham, Manchester, moving to London and becoming a regular singer with the Jools Holland Band.

We get a free mini-warm up session from the queen of session singers and hear how she tackles new challenges in the studio and on the stage.

Louise conducted her Father’s choir, The Oldham International Choir from the early age of 13, and played th...

How To Be a World Class Producer, Composer & Performer (with Andrew Kingslow)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to Andrew Kingslow.

In this episode, Andrew talks about his life as a musician, composer, producer and artist manager.  He talks about his love of keyboards and synths and walks us through his early days as a classically trained pianist and percussionist to when he first played a Hammond Organ and playing live with B.B. King.

He also describes his deep love of music and how he views the role of the producer in this modern age of music making.


How To Be Awesome at Bass (with Francis Hylton)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to Francis Hylton.

In this episode, Francis talks about his life as  bass player, artist, record label owner and DJ. He goes back to his early days at university, how came to play with Incognito and what he's been getting up to over lockdown.

Francis was born and raised in North London to Jamaican parents and he only started playing the bass at aged 19 whilst at Manchester studying audio and visual systems. It was during his time at Manchester that he &a...

From High Powered Lawyer to Blues Radio DJ (with Roger McCormick)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) are talking to Roger McCormick.

Roger McCormick is the presenter of 'The Blues Spectrum' on Brooklands Radio.

"Two hours of the best in blues and "bluesy" music, old and new. The genre continues to thrive and the show covers the best of the new releases but also harks back to the British Blues Boom and the early Delta and Chicago Blues legends. "

In this episode Roger talks about his life as a lawyer in the the...

Life as double bassist and Jazz promoter (with Marianne Windham)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to Marianne Windham.

In this episode Marianne talks about her love for Jazz, its community, the double bass, teaching, her university days, jazz promotion, her charity work and why she left a succesful carreer in software consultancy.

The founder and driving force behind Guildford Jazz, a not for profit organisation whose aim is to bring some of Britain’s finest musicians to a local audience, in an intimate and welcoming “jazz club” environment, Marianne Windham left a successful career in software consul...

How To Find Yourself As An Artist (with Nicholas James Lockewood)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to Nicholas James Lockewood.

Nicholas is a musician, bass player, artist and educator. He has a Degree in Jazz studios from Leeds College of Music, a Masters in Music from The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and is currently undertaking a PhD also at the RNCM.

Nicholas has played early career started with folk trio 'Uiscedwr' the 'Uiscedwr Big Band' and later to 'Bad Anna'. Having worked in various 5-Star hotels around the world, cruise ships...

How to Navigate a New Community - in a Different Country! (with Carter Arrington)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to Carter Arrington.

Carter is a guitarist, live performer and composer and has worked with the likes of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Progger, Peter Rowan, Eric Johnson, Alejandro Escovedo, Bernard Purdie and Fred Wesley to name a few.

Carter also has a wealth of educational knowledge having studied at the Atlanta Institute of Music and completing a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Performance at the University of Texas - he has gone on to educater both privately and...

Bringing Nature into Music (with Joel Pike)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to Joel Pike (aka Tiny Leaves).

Joel is a composer and goes under the moniker Tiny Leaves he has developed his sound as a solo artist alongside years of writing and performing in bands. He describes his music as being rooted in narrative, but is often surprised at the undefinable end result. His music has a delicate, cinematic quality that brings a quiet hope.

Joel describes his writing process, shows us (virtually) around his studio and describes the connection to his music in...

How to set up a Studio in Wales, enjoy wine and aircraft too (with Clovis Phillips)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) talk to Clovis Phillips (Add a Band).

Clovis is a multi-instrumentalist, studio owner, producer and lover of wine. His studio is just outside Newtown in Wales.

Clovis, Stef and James have a very interesting chat about how Clovis started the studio, learning guitar chords from a Beatles songbook, how to manage clients professionally, being creative and along the way they dabble in the Airbus A380 and a good bottle of Riesling.

Clovis is engaging, funny and really fun to talk to so...

How To Serve The Song (with Simon Johnson)

Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) and James Welch (Masterlink Productions) are talking to Simon Johnson.

Simon is a guitarist, producer and composer most recently working on the films Wild Rose (2018), Fisherman’s Friends (2019) and Blithe Spirit (2020) as a music consultant.

As a guitar player Simon has worked alongside Sir Tom Jones, Lulu, Lana Del Rey, Ella Eyre, Mark Knopfler, James Morrison, Sir Cliff Richard, Rudimental and Van Morrison.

Simon talks about his journey from playing guitar in bands to working with producer Mickie Most, setting up his own studio at home, songwriting an...

How to make waves in London as a singer-songwriter from the North (with Kat Eaton)

James Welch (Masterlink Productions) and Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher’s Funkestra, RSB Records) are talking to Kat Eaton.

Kat Eaton is a singer-songwriter from Sheffield. She has just released her first album ‘Talk To Me’.

Kat shares how she got into Blues and Soul at a very early age, how a school concert turned into a pivotal career choice movement, her mentor Frank White, her fine arts degree in Lincoln and what prompted her and her husband Nick (guitarist, producer and MD of her band) to move down to London.

Amongst many other anecdo...

How to successfully morph from DJ to record label boss (with Elliot Ireland)

James Welch (Masterlink Productions) and Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) talk to Elliot Ireland, director of Pedigree Cuts, musician, engineer, producer, DJ and all-round music lover.

Elliot takes us back to his University days and how he and his partner in crime Alex Rizzo have organically developed from Breakbeat/House DJs to being signed to Ministry of Sounds FSUK Breakbeat label, creating million selling hit records, forging their own record label Jalapeno Records and ultimately setting up their own label Pedigree Cuts.

Pedigree Cuts is a Hybrid Commercial Record Label and Production Library. Artist...

How To Be World Class Studio Owner, Stage Manager and Entrepreneur (with Pete Mills)

Stef and James have an enlightening and candid chat with Send Hill Studios owner Pete Mills.

Pete has been a studio owner, tour/production manager for Elton John and has recently been dabbling in cutting edge audio technology. Pete owns the land and buildings where the Masterlink Productions  studio is located so has a great affinity with all of our endeavours. He has been working for Elton John for nearly 25 years as guitar, keyboard, drum tech and nearly everything else so has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to putting a world class show together.

How To Be An Incredible Session Drummer (with Mike Sturgis)

James and Stef have an *in-person, face-to-face, no Zoom-call* chat with Masterlink Sessions drummer Mike Sturgis.

Mike delves into his approach to playing and recording at the Masterlink Sessions studio, his passion for education and his general outlook on being a musician. It's a fascinating insight into his world and his musical heritage.

Mike has performed live or recorded with such major pop, rock and jazz names as David Bowie, Elton John, A-ha, Asia, Jack Bruce, Steve Winwood, Tom Jones, Wishbone Ash, Bob James, Randy Brecker and Bob Mintzer. He currently performs with...

How To Have a Healthy Music Recording Obession (with Fiona Cruickshank)

James (Masterlink Productions) and Stefan (Redtenbacher's Funkestra) talk to Fiona Cruickshank. Fiona is a freelance engineer and producer based in London. 

During this relaxed chat they talk about her varied work experiences at Air (Studio), the Tonmeister course in Surrey, her career path, working and recording with amazing musicians and composers,  the Spitfire sample library and amongst other things, her love for micro-brewery beers. We hope to see her soon at Masterlink Production studios helping us out with recording some strings:-)

Fiona joined AIR Management in 2018, having already been involved with several hi...

Fred Mollin - The Artist's Producer

Stef and James talk to renowed producer and all-round super bloke Fred Mollin.

Fred is very open about how he works in the studio, his relationship with the songwriter Jimmy Webb, being a film composer and not being 'damaged enough' to be an artist himself.

Fred Mollin first came into international prominence as a record producer in the late 70's, producing numerous albums and singles, including the Grammy award-nominated "Sometimes When We Touch' by Dan Hill. In the early 80's Mollin based in L.A. and Toronto to start...

How To Bring Together Cultures, Genres and Feelings (with great lyrics!)

James and Stef talk to Jana Varga - Slovak-born London-based singer songwriter. She talks about her journey from her homeland to the UK, bringing emotion and depth to her songwriting and lots more.

Her well crafted songs are at home in the broad Americana genre but their roots run much deeper. Jana’s natural musicianship is founded in her classical music training, folk influences such as Janis Ian and James Taylor, jazz and fusion.

Having to ‘settle’ down in several countries throughout her life, her lyrics often reflect struggles and challenges when starting from zero in a n...

Greta Valenti & Robin Davey | Creative and Enterpreneurial Energy Fields (Part Two)

James and Stef talk to Greta Valenti & Robin Davey | musicians, audio producers, film producers and all around creative entrepreneurial energy fields with their own bands: Well Hung Heart and Beaux Gris Gris, based in Orange County, California.

Greta Valenti is an American business woman and artist. She is best known as the lead singer/songwriter of American Rock band Well Hung Heart & swamp pop/blues band Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse, producer of television show Live From Daryl's House, Multi-ward-winning documentary director and founder and CEO of Grow Vision creative studios. She...

Greta Valenti & Robin Davey

James and Stef talk to Greta Valenti & Robin Davey -

Greta Valenti is an American business woman and artist. She is best known as the lead singer/songwriter of American Rock band Well Hung Heart & swamp pop/blues band Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse, producer of television show Live From Daryl's House, Multi-ward-winning documentary director and founder and CEO of Grow Vision creative studios. She is also a consultant in the world of cannabis!

Robin Davey is an English musician (youngest inductee into the birtish blues hall of fame), record...

How To Be a Rock and Roll Photographer

Stef and James talk to esteemed rock and roll photographer Rob Blackham. Rob has photographed some serious names - Eric Clapton, George Ezra, Van Morrison, Slash, Michael Kiwanuka, Sir Tom Jones, Georgie Fame, Robin Trower the list goes on.

Rob also turns out to be ace producer and guitarist, who knew? He's funny, frank and full of stories.

*Apologies for a small amount of audio echo on the podcast.

How To Create a Community of Musicians

Stef and James talk to Vin Goodwin, purveryor of excellent nights out in the form of Vin's Night In  and Vin's Veg Out.

Vin has just released a new single called Take Flight, you can listen to it here:

We had a lot of fun talking to Vin about his many working 'hats', musician, composer, theatre writer and creator of communities. We also heard about Vin's other job as an access and i...

How To Diversify and Still Do What You Love

Stef and James talk to Leo Appleyard - Jazz Guitarist, Electronic Producer and Educator. Leo talks about his journey through music, going from jazz guitarist to electro producer and how to collaborate with people.

Over the past decade Leo has played/recorded with various artists - both in and out of the jazz idiom - including; Derek Nash, Jim Mullen, Duncan Eagles, Neil Yates, Max Luthert, Louie Palmer, Sam Leak, Paul Jordanous, Ted Carrasco, Simon Allen, Cat Delphi (BBC Radio 2 and o2 Islington) Gold of My own (Ronnie Scotts, The Barbican, North Face Festival, Larma Tree Fest...

Scott McKeon - Blues Man

James and Stef talk to Scott McKeon - guitarist, maker of fine fuzz pedals and ultimate blues man. Scott talks us through his journey from picking up a guitar at aged 4 - to having the Fender Master Builder replicate his beloved Stratocaster.

This is only 30mins of an hour long chat we had with Scott, stay tuned to hear more from our conversation.

Scott’s love of the blues set him on a path to discover Texas musicians such as Freddie King, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Doyle Bramhall Sr and Jr, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. This led Scot...

How To Find Your Roots in a Different Land

James and Stef talk to modern-blues singer/songwriter Ben Hemming. In something of a backward nod to the ways of a bygone era, its fair to say that Ben Hemming didn’t so much find the blues… as the blues found him. 

It was during a particularly troublesome period in his life, stuck in a dead end job, and having watched his girlfriend walk out of his life, that he decided the only option was to seek change. Big change. Leaving all of his emotional baggage behind, he embarked upon a musical pilgrimage around America that eventually would...

How To Go From Singing Opera to Folk Psych Rock (and how to write awesome lyrics)

In this episode of the Masterlink Podcast James and Stef talk to Jade Like The Stone, artist, singer and songwriter. Jade talks about how she grew up in a Welsh village with a notable career in Opera seeming to beckon until the tragic death of her drowned brother, led to a re-evaluation of her life plans and aspirations, spawning a renewed need to follow her own wants and wills, rather than ceed to the expectations of others.

"You have a superstar voice. Your voice sounds like a logo - like Jennifer Hudson’s voice is a lo...

How to Leave Teaching Behind and Become a Full Time Pirate (and/or Musician)

Stefan and James talk to Hollie Rogers, artist and singer-songwriter. Hollie speaks about her journey from teaching to having a full time career in music and all the pitfalls and fun that come with it. Hollie is funny, candid and also wrote a song about porridge that got her a free holiday. Listen in to find out how she did it.

Hollie Rogers is a London based singer, songwriter and guitarist with an incredibly powerful voice. Her live performances consistently receive outstanding reviews, with regular reference to the level of candour in her lyrics. 

With t...

How to Uproot Yourself and Become an International Recording Artist

James and Stef talk to singer-songwriter Georgia Van Etten. She talks about her move to London, establishing herself as an artist and missing her family. She is open candid and funny and talks about her love of songwriting.

Recently signed to Canadian record label Birthday Cake, founded by The Bros. Landreth, she continues to solidify her position on the international stage. Georgia has just released her debut album 'Deep Black Water' to much critical acclaim- with a feature in NME, music video on MTV, heavy rotation on SiriusXM North Americana (US) and a feature session...

How To Work Well With People And Be An Awesome Percussionist

Stef and James talk to Karl Vanden Bossche, legendary percussionist and super cool dude. Karl talks us through is esteemed career - think Mark Ronson, Gorillaz, Sade, Stevie Winwood,  Gabrielle, the list goes on.

Karl tells us how he figured out how best to work with people, being creative and what it's like being a percussionist in the modern music industry.

How To Have A Successful Music Career and Becoming a First Time Mum

James and Stef speak to smoky-voiced, hard-working, far-touring, award winning chanteuse Elles Bailey. Elles talks about how she has become a successful blues/americana artist, touring extensively and becoming a first time mum.

Elles has toured throughout the UK and Europe in 2019 and early 2020 as well as being special guest support for Grammy Award winner Mike Farris, The Kris Barras Band and King King. She also shared the stage with Beth Hart at Ramblin’ Man, The Temperance Movement at Swing Wespelaar and appeared at Nashville’s Americana Fest as part of the ‘House of Songs’ collabora]on. 


How To Leave Acting Behind And Become a Country-Rock Singer

Stefan and James talk to Laura Evans, rising Welsh star and country-rock singer. Laura tells us about her life as an actor and the transition from that world into music. She describes her process of writing music and her influences (Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Bonnie Rait, Faith Hill and more),  how she reaches fans and how she met Drake.

How To Be Your Bad Guitarist Self In An Ever-Changing Music Industry

James and Stef speak to the larger than life character that is Tony Rémy. Tony details his life as a session guitarist, the ups and downs of the music industry and gives us a run down of some of the incredible musicians he has worked with (Annie Lennox, Jack Bruce, Steve Lukather, Glenn Hughes, Simply Red, Craig David, M-People, Gary Barlow, Sarah-Jane Morris, Herbie Hancock, Pee Wee Ellis, Incognito, Jazz Crusaders, Courtney Pine, Freddie Hubbard to name but a few). He also speaks candidly about his family and how he unwinds. Tony is the cat!

How To Front a Rock Band

Stefan and James talk to Ben Edwards from The Rainbreakers. Ben speaks candidly about his struggles with mental health and what it's like to front rock band The Rainbreakers.

Although still a young band, The Rainbreakers possess a maturity and wisdom hewn from battle hardened touring over recent years. Playing to capacity crowds at iconic venues such as The 100 Club, The Borderline, The Sage, and Rock City. They've also enthusiastically supported notables like The Temperance Movement, The Kris Barras Band, Alabama 3, Devon Allman, Samantha Fish and Wille and the Bandits...